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X (ex-Twitter) soon to charge all users ? 🤑

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A recent round-table discussion on artificial intelligence, organized by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, brought together the likes of Greg Brockman (president of Open AI), Max Tegmark (MIT-affiliated scientist) and Elon Musk. It was during this exchange that the owner of X, formerly Twitter, announced his intention to make access to the platform available on a pay-per-use basis.

Paid Twitter to combat bots 🤖

Elon Musk’s statement was a bombshell, to say the least.

“We’re moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system,” Musk told Netanyahu, claiming that “it’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots.”

That’s all it took for the web to go wild. Although details of the amount of this subscription were not specified, it would be distinct from X’s Premium subscription, which confers the certification badge.

According to Elon Musk, this small payment could deter bot creators, who would then have to provide multiple payment details. This isn’t the first time Musk has sought to combat bots on X. In particular, we remember the introduction of access fees to X’s APIs earlier this year, as well as the « Rate Limit Exceeded » incident and Twitter block (which you can discover by clicking here) last July. Once again, the justification was the fight against bots. However, it seems that the presence of these bots on the platform continues to grow.

Alternatives are not popular 📉

To date, there are 3 main alternatives to X: Threads, BlueSky and Mastodon.

Launched with great fanfare last July by Meta, Threads quickly reached 100 million registered users. However, a lack of features and blocking problems in Europe hampered its success. The number of active users has since fallen sharply.

As for BlueSky, it’s a decentralized alternative to X, created by Twitter creator Jack Dorsey. However, it is currently available by invitation only.

Finally, Mastodon is also a decentralized alternative to X. However, its technical complexity has made adoption difficult for many users.

It remains to be seen whether Elon Musk will actually put this idea into practice. It’s important to note that X Premium subscriptions have not yet been a runaway success. According to researcher Travis Brown, between last November and April, Twitter only managed to convert around 640,000 users into Blue subscribers. For a platform that claims 550 million monthly active users according to its owner, this figure seems derisory. The introduction of low-cost mandatory subscriptions seems to be the only alternative to make Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of X profitable.

What do you think? And what do you think of paid social networks in general? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments.

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